ON-Lion Letter

The public-policy arena is rife with problems to solve and opportunities to create -- an entrepreneur's specialty.  The January/February 2015 edition of SPN News from the State Policy Network (SPN) in Arlington, Va., features an interview of Whitney Johnson, who talks about how she thinks state think tanks could collaborate with entrepreneurs to solve public-policy challenges.

Johnson co-founded Rose Park Advisors with Clayton Christensen and is an advisor to the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards and author of Dare, Dream, Do:  Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream.

"I think it’s important to know and communicate what you stand for.  That's where your white papers come in; they are the logic piece of what you want to accomplish, which are foundational.  And then focus on stories ...," Johnson says in the interview.   "Stories are what will change people's hearts and appeal to their better natures.

"This reminds me of a story about Intuit," she tells SPN, which is supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.  "Intuit wanted to change the lives of 1.2 billion people in India.  They sent three engineers to rural India to figure something out.  One day these engineers got caught in a torrential downpour at a bus stop with some farmers.  They started talking, and the engineers learned that the farmers didn't have access to commodity prices.  The engineers realized it was a problem that needed to be solved.  They decided to start texting the farmers information about prices and buyers to see whether it was helpful for them.  Turns out it was.  Now Intuit has a sophisticated text messaging platform that two million farmers are using and their bottom line is up by 20 percent.

"If Intuit had not gone to the place where the farmers were," Johnson notes, "they would not have known what problem needed to be solved." 

"The same is true for think tanks," she concludes.  "To find entrepreneurs who care about joining the freedom movement, think tanks have to meet them where they are.  Once think tanks engage with organizations like Vistage, YPO, or Chambers of Commerce, they will find many entrepreneurs who need the network's help. That’s tremendous common ground.  As you work alongside these entrepreneurs, you will have the opportunities to influence minds and hearts." 

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |